Former KwaZulu-Natal Health spokesperson Leon Abednigo Mbangwa is expected to appear in the Durban Specialised Commercial Court again on charges of qualifications fraud, reports the Sunday Tribune. Mbangwa, 55, was summonsed earlier this month by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit after an investigation relating to his credentials was recently concluded.
Provincial Hawks spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo confirmed that Mbangwa, whose citizenship has also been questioned, would appear on Monday on charges of falsifying his qualifications. “The accused allegedly misrepresented his qualifications by claiming to hold a master’s degree in public management and development when he applied for a job at the Department of Health in Kwazulu-Natal in 2006,” he is quoted in the report as saying. Mhlongo added that Mbangwa’s alleged fraud had cost the department “actual and potential losses” of more than R3m.
The report says Mbangwa was also the former chief of staff in the Police Ministry under former police minister Nathi Nhleko. And he served as spokesperson to the former speaker of the provincial legislature, Peggy Nkonyeni.
Tn 2002, Mbangwa was found guilty of fraud and jailed for four years. His conviction was related to an issue regarding his place of birth and his South African citizenship. Mbangwa said at that time, that according to his identity document, he had been born in South Africa when he had in fact been born in Zimbabwe.
The report says Mbangwa admitted to having spent some time in a Pretoria prison for fraud. He was released in August 2003.
In 2011, Mbangwa had been asked to leave the KZN Health Department for failing to produce his qualifications.
The report says Nkonyeni had described Mbangwa as “one of the best communicators” who had distinguished himself as an “organised civil servant”.
Mhlongo said when Mbangwa appeared in court earlier this month he was granted R8,000 bail.
[link url="https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/nathi-nhlekos-former-chief-of-staff-back-in-court-on-fraud-claim-20345811"]Sunday Tribune report[/link]